Manchester United interim coach Ralf Rangnick has shut down suggestions that there was more to Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence in the club’s 4-1 loss to Manchester City in a Premier League clash on Sunday.
Rangnick insists that Ronaldo sustained a hip injury before the Manchester derby, with many, including ex-Man United captain Roy Keane questioning how genuine the injury is.
“We talk about Ronaldo being some sort of machine; he’s very rarely injured, and then every now and again he comes out… and says hip flexor. It doesn’t add up to me,” said Keane.
Keane made similar comments after the derby, and Rangnick was asked in a press conference to respond.
“The doctor came to see me on Friday and told me Cristiano cannot train due to a problem with his hip flexor, and the same was true on Saturday, and that’s why he couldn’t be part of the squad,” said Rangnick.
“It’s just a fact if players tell the medical department that they are injured, and they cannot play, I have to accept it,” he added.
Man United were also without Edinson Cavani due to injury, but Rangnick said he had been fit enough to train.
“Edi trained in the last three days, he trained well, but he still felt after those three training sessions yesterday afternoon that he is still not fit to play. This is a fact. As a manager, I cannot force a player if he does not feel fit enough or well enough to play,” added the German.
The Red Devils dropped down the log standings, out of the top four in fifth place following their loss, and Arsenal’s 3-2 win over Watford saw them jump into the fourth spot, a point ahead of Man United.
“I didn’t actually expect Arsenal to lose at Watford, so for us, it’s clear, if we still want to have a chance to finish fourth at the end of the season, we can almost not drop any more points,” concluded Rangnick.